Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Yummy recipe alert! Last week I had a craving for BBQ chicken sandwiches, so I googled that exact term and found this little gem. Love love love!

Here's my version of the recipe, which is a bit different than the Food Network's original one.

Makes 6 smaller sandwiches or 4 large sandwiches.

- 3 chicken breasts (You can also just buy a rotisserie chicken already cooked)
- 3/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 an onion, chopped (Or a whole onion if you like them a lot)
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon worcheshire sauce (This wasn't in the recipe but I added it)
- red pepper flakes to taste (My addition, which I think made the meal! I put in about 3/4 teaspoon and it was pretty darn spicy)
- hamburger buns or rolls
- lettuce

Boil the chicken breasts -
1. Place the chicken breasts in a pot and cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Once the water is boiling, cook for about 15 minutes. This isn't exact - just cut it open after a while and check to see if it's cooked through. It should be white in the center.
4. After the chicken is fully cooked, shred it with a fork. Set aside.

Make the sauce -
5. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
6. Add the onions and cook until they're clear - about 4 or 5 minutes.
7. Add the garlic, then cook for 1 more minute.
8. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vinegar, molasses, pepper, liquid smoke, worcheshire sauce and red pepper flakes.
9. Bring to a boil.
10. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
11. Add the chicken, then simmer for 10 more minutes.

Toast your hamburger buns and serve! Yummm!

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 440
Total Fat 12 grams
Saturated Fat 2.5 grams
Protein 36 grams
Fiber 5 grams

Europe Day 5: Venezia, Italia

On day 5 we woke up early at 4 a.m., as I mentioned in the last post. We took a taxi to the Dublin airport, and took RyanAir to Venice! The flight only took about 2 hours.

I think we flew over the Alps - I snapped this picture from the window. Higher up the mountains were covered with snow, but it was cloudy so I didn't attempt to take any pictures.

When we arrived it was so warm and sunny! We immediately read signs and listened to people, trying to teach ourselves a few Italian phrases (My spelling is probably off)

Grazi = Thank you
Bon Giorno = Hello
Ciao = Bye
Escusi = Excuse me
Si = yes

Since we have some knowledge of Spanish, and the languages are very similar, it was pretty easy. Most people we encountered spoke at least a little English. And even if they didn't, we were able to communicate somehow!

We took a bus from Venice Treviso Airport to the main bus station right outside of the city. Then we took another bus to Marghera, where our hostel was located. We stayed at Plus Camping Jolly, and it was a long walk! They upgraded us to a private "bungalow," which is a trailer with two twin beds, a private bathroom and even a mini fridge. It was nice, but because it's so far from Venice, let alone a bus stop, I wouldn't recommend it unless you rent a car.

Upon arriving in Italy, we pretty much immediately realized that Italian men are... creepy. They think it's okay to stare, leer, make cat calls and kissy noises. It's obnoxious... of course we didn't let it affect us but it's very noticeable and happens constantly.

We had to lay in our room for a while, we were so tired! But eventually we decided to trek back to Venice, which meant walking the 3/4 mile or so back to the bus stop. First we stopped at a restaurant called Charly Bar (Charly is what my family calls me)! We were excited to try real Italian pasta, but they showed us that it was just a frozen meal they heated up!

When we got to Venice, we got some gelato then went exploring! The city was so much more beautiful than I expected. Sadly, my pictures don't convey how freaking adorable Venice really is. There really are NO vehicles - only boats in the canals. Such a unique place! We basically walked around and took in all the pretty sights.

All my pictures are of Rose because it's just much easier to take pictures of each other with our own cameras.

Remember how I said it was warm and sunny? We had changed into skirts, sandals and tank tops for the weather. Well it started sprinkling as we were on the bus, and eventually it started pouring! Like seriously pouring.

We stood under eaves and laughed about the situation, and eventually stopped into a little restaurant to wait it out. We had a cheese plate, bruschetta, bellini and wine. Delicious!

When the rain finally stopped, we walked and explored more, and headed back to the hostel.

I loved Venice a lot more than I expected to! It's absolutely gorgeous - much more than my pictures show. I would only recommend one day there, though.

Day 1: Travel
Day 2: Dublin, Ireland
Day 3: Dublin, Ireland
Day 4: Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

Sunday, June 27, 2010

$23 bridesmaid dress

I haven't had a chance to get a dress for my maid of honor yet, since she's been in Europe since September and will be there for a few more weeks. We were planning to go shopping when she gets back in July.

I stopped by Ross last week and looked through the dress section... and found the perfect dress! It's pretty much exactly what I would have picked anyway, plus it was an absolute steal at $23!

So I decided to go ahead and buy it in not one but two sizes, and hopefully one of them fits and looks good on Rose. If not, we can easily return both of them, but I'll return at least one anyway. We still may hit up the mall to see if we can find something better but I think she'll look like a hottie in this dress :)

Europe Day 4: Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

On this day we took a bus tour of the Antrim Coast, which was absolutely breathtaking! The bus conveniently left from right in front of our hostel. The tour guide narrated everything and told us about the history of what we would be seeing. Did you know that Belfast is where the Titanic was built? He explained that "The Irish take responsibility for nothing. It was fine when it left!" haha

We had several stops on this trip, the first being this castle just outside of Belfast. We stopped for just a few minutes to take some pictures. See the fake guy up there pretending to guard it?

We drove through the Irish countryside. Everything was so green!

These were taken from the bus window

The main attraction of the tour was Giants Causeway. Since Rose had gone there a few weeks before, I'm going to steal her explanation of this area from her blog:

According to science...
Giants Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
 According to legend...
The famous legend concerns two rival giants, Benandonner, who lived in Scotland, and Finn MacCool in Ireland. MacCool was a relatively small giant at 52 feet (about 16 meters), and the two giants would shout across the sea to each other demanding a trial of strength.
Finn MacCool decided to build a rocky path across the sea between the two countries to enable the contest to begin, but exhausted by the work, he fell asleep on the causeway and was found by his giant wife Oonagh. Suddenly she saw Benandonner approaching, who was truly a huge giant. Knowing that Finn would be no match for the huge giant, she placed a coat on top of the sleeping Finn.
Benandonner demanded to know where Finn was. Oonagh replied by pointing at the sleeping Finn and saying, "Be quiet or you will wake my child." Seeing this, Benandonner had second thoughts. If that was the size of their child, how big would Finn be? He ran back to Scotland, smashing the causeway in his trail.
After eating an Irish lunch that made feel a little sick (They put a ton of butter on sandwiches), we hiked down to the area and it was really cool! On the hike...

And here are the columns.

It's a really cool and unique place.

I had to take a picture with a phone booth while in the UK! This one was near Giants Causeway. A lot of the old ones had been replaced with modern ones in Belfast so it was hard to find.

After we were done looking at Giants Causeway, we still had a long time before the bus left so we went down a cute little walking path.

We also stopped at the Old Bushmills whiskey distillery. It smelled really good there, like freshly baked bread!

I was excited that we got to stop and see Dunluce Castle. Unfortunately it's not safe to enter because it's in ruins. It was built in the 1200s and was later struck by lightning, causing several rooms to fall onto the steep cliffs and into the sea. Several servants were killed. The Spanish also attempted to take it over at one point but crashed their ship on the rocks below.

I took pictures of the old abandoned farmhouses (Well that's what I called them and imagined what they were) from the bus. I would have loved to stop and explore!

The final stop of the day was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I'm not sure if this is true or I was just really tired... but the hike to get there seemed really long! But it had some of the most beautiful natural scenes I've ever seen.

When we finally got to the bridge, I realized it's not as scary as it sounds or looks. You have to pay a few Euro to cross and get to the island on the other side.

Okay, so I was a little scared! The worst part is that it moves when the wind blows.

The bus took us back to Belfast, then we took another bus back to Dublin. Such a long day! We got back to the hostel at 11 p.m., took showers and tried to sleep for just a few hours until we had to get up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport.

At about 3 a.m., a group of extremely drunk Irish lads came in and had a hilarious, loud, long conversation. We couldn't even be mad because they were sooo funny!

Up next - Venice, Italy!